Brussels is struggling to gather evidence against Amazon in an antitrust case it opened

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 9: Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, Blue Origin and owner of The Washington Post via Getty Images, gives an update on Blue Origin and the progress and vision of going to space to benefit Earth at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Brussels announced the case in the summer of 2019.

  • The EU is struggling to find evidence for an Amazon antitrust case, the Financial Times reported.
  • The bloc has not managed to access Amazon’s algorithm and has not received replies to its questions.
  • If the lawsuit is successful, Amazon could face fines of up to 10% of its annual revenue.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Europe is struggling to gather evidence against Amazon for the antitrust case it has opened against the e-commerce giant for its market dominance and anti-competition practices, the Financial Times reported.

Brussels announced the case in the summer of 2019 on allegations that Amazon was manipulating its algorithm to favor its own products over third-party sellers on its websites.

They have reportedly been unable to access the algorithm and the list of detailed questions they sent to Amazon has not yet received a response.

Antitrust lawsuits have become commonplace as big tech companies come under increasing levels of scrutiny, including in the US.

Facebook was hit by two large antitrust lawsuits from the Federal Trade Commission in December 2020 and has now motioned for the cases to be thrown out.

Parler has also filed lawsuits against Amazon while the gaming giant behind Fortnite, Epic Games, has taken on Google and Apple.

“Cases involving algorithms are complex,” a Brussels-based legal expert told the Financial Times. “But the EU doesn’t have to dictate how a computer code works. It is for the company that uses the algorithm to deliver a fair result.”

Margrethe Vestager Jeff Bezos
If Amazon is found to have breached European law, the company could be fined up to 10% of its annual revenue.

If Amazon is found to have breached European law, the company could be fined up to 10% of its annual revenue. The figure stood at $233 billion for 2018, meaning a fine of up to $23 billion, but has since increased.

The lawsuit was followed by a second one in November 2020 over the way Amazon uses data from third-party sellers on its websites.

The Financial Times said the EU had been given evidence that Amazon may not gain anything from disadvantaging third-party sellers as they generate large amounts of profit for the company.

“Why would Amazon want to worsen the customer experience if customers will realize they can get better quality products for cheaper elsewhere?” an insider with knowledge of the defense told the Financial Times.

Those familiar with the case said an investigation could still take years and may still result in a successful outcome for the EU.

Amazon did not respond to the FT’s request for comment and the EU said it was still investigating.

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